Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Vampire Secrets

I recently watched "Vampire Secrets" on the History Channel.

In general, the show, though very nice to look at, wasn't really impressive. They kept repeating the same footage, which was aggravating. You kept seeing a re-enactment of Countess Elizabeth Bathory bathing in blood, an NYC vampire club scene, and a man with page boy haircut biting a woman's neck. (I was, however, pleased that the Countess was not played by an anorexic actress, but instead a woman of normal-to-ample proportions.) Commercials interrupted frequently, and coming back from the commercials, the intros seemed to contain lots of fluff (maybe they didn't want the refrigerator crowd to miss anything).

The show included Katherine Ramsland's search for journalist Susan Walsh, which she recounted in Piercing the Darkness, and also a bit about Rod Ferrell, a kid from KY whose vampire name was Vassago and who bludgeoned his girlfriend's father and step-mother to death. In mentioning Ferrell, of course they mentioned Vampire: The Masquerade, which Michelle Belanger also commented on. Belanger, the author of the Psychic Vampire Codex, had some interesting insights in general throughout the program, but it was boring to see the repeated shots of her psi-vamping a willing participant.

There was also a man with blond hair and interesting eyes (lenses? hard to tell) who was interviewed who seemed knowledgeable.

Buzz Out Loud's Veronica Belmont made a cameo as a kerchiefed victim of Bathory. She had no speaking parts, but did a convincing head turn -- seriously! She looked like someone submitting to the whims of royalty: fearful, yet resigned. BOL's Tom Merritt also made a cameo as a French doctor examining a corpse that then turned to dust, and again, well-done for a short appearance. Of course, if you don't recognize BOL or the names of the actors, you're probably not as amused as I am: They're hosts (along with Molly Wood) of a regular CNet internet podcast "of indeterminate length" that discusses geeky stuff in great detail, so to see these technophiles in period costume in a TV production that, in part, investigates historical vampires, is quite amusing. Well done, Veronica and Tom!

Of course, no historical account of vampires these days would be complete without a mention of Vlad Tepes, better known as Vlad the Impaler. New was the narrator pointing out that the impalings and beheadings were psychological warfare and that he did indeed succeed in protecting his country from being overrun by Ottoman Turks, something I hadn't considered. They mentioned that Tepes is considered a hero in his country, which I hadn't realized. Him being a hero doesn't prevent locals from making money off the tourists who come for the vampire lore, something Ceausescu encouraged to strengthen the economy.

Having written two novels with vampires as major characters, I've read quite a bit on the history of vampires and vampire lore when doing my initial research, so I expected that I'd be familiar with most of what was presented. That indeed was true; the only thing I saw that was new was a comparison of Kirlian photos of the fingertips of a psi vamp and a victim before and after the energy exchange. You can see the psi vamp's aura change to a much, much stronger one, and the victim's aura diminish considerably. I found that segment very interesting.

The show could have been done in much less than 2 hours; could have been much tighter. I resented spending that much time on a fluffy show when I should have been working on the final touches to my second novel (The Old Power Returns), which my editor (and foreign publisher) are waiting for.

Oh, well. It's Halloween, and I can take some time out for some spooky viewing, no?

Happy Halloweentide,


No comments: